Due to advances in the science of immunology, patients with defects of the immune system are being diagnosed earlier and living longer.
The condition and/or treatment modality may affect the patient's oral health and delivery of dental care.
On a more mundane level, the pedodontist deals with the immune system daily when inquiring about allergies and rheumatic fever in the medical history.
Oral immunology affects pediatric dentistry when considering ulcerative lesions of the oral mucosa, junvenile periodontitis, and research areas such as caries vaccination.
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This paper will present some basic immunological concepts and correlate these with disorders of the immune system pedodontists may confront in practice.
Every practitioner should have a working knowledge of immunology and its implications in oral medicine.
Many excellent texts can provide practitioners with a review of basic principles and some of these are included in the references.
Also, Donlon contains a short review of essential immunology, including the secretory immune system.
William C. Donlon, DMD, MA